Unremarkable Me

 

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I’m exceptionally ordinary.

I realized this while struggling with my author bio.

Honestly, I already knew but it’s really in your face when you’re trying to create anything that requires you to write in third person the answer to an unanswerable question: Who am I?

I’m me. Just me.

Unremarkable.

I’m not being self-deprecating but I am wondering…

Why does everyone need to be special?

Everyone is unique. Not the same thing.

Let’s face it. We want our bios to be memorable. That’s the point, isn’t it?

I went through this last year while trying to write a social media profile and “About Me” page for my blog. I had a major WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis) and deleted myself.

But this. It’s so…final. An author bio, many experts say, can make or break you. Break me? Eek. They’re right! I can’t just cut and paste and fix it. It’s there. In writing. Forever.

Eh. Okay. So it is.

No matter how many times I rewrite it, I’ll most likely look at it in a few months and wonder what the hell I was thinking. So I’m going to accept that and let it go. And while I’m at it, accept who I am on paper.

A unique yet ordinary woman.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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Do you have difficulty writing your bios? Do you change them often or write them and leave them alone? Do you try to present yourself as ‘special’ in some way? Do you even remember what your bio says anymore?

 

 

Deflecting Compliments (Like a Ninja)

 

Ninja Thank You - sig

 

Why do I apologize for myself?

This goes so far beyond not being able to take a compliment, I can’t even see the coastline anymore. I’m floating out there in the vast sea of self-deprecation. Clinging desperately to a belittlement buoy.

I actually get defensive when someone says something nice.

It’s ludicrous.

Last week, I was minding my own business, milling around a store, when a clerk grabbed my hand (because girls can do that—it’s weird) and said, “Oh! I love your nails!”

Weapons at the ready, I started my self-defense.

“Oh! I only did that for the summer solstice, I mean…my kids…it’s like a fairy thing, sort of…it’s a fun…” By then, she had let go of my hand and was backing away nodding. And no wonder.

I have an inability to accept compliments. But this need to make excuses for pretty much everything I am—from my clothes to my hair to my voice to, apparently, my fingernail polish—this has got to stop.

It’s a seemingly simple fix because, really, all I need to do is smile and say “Thank you”.

But when I bring out my sparring swords, we have a problem.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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It’s bad enough to become self-deprecating when someone insults you but, when given a compliment, it’s truly bizarre. How do you react when someone gives you a compliment? Have you ever gone so far as to make excuses for yourself?

Can you take a compliment? (If so, is this something you developed later in life or something you’ve always been able to do? I’m wicked curious about this.)

 

Upon Closer Examination

 

It’s been a month since I became nobody.

 

About Me 1 sig

 

The time has come, my online friends, to talk of other things. Like words and life and what I like, of Lemon Sharks and fins! (Sorry, Lewis.)

I must get on with it. A month, you know? I thought a perfect profile would just gradually, you know, appear to me. Like in a dream or something.

It didn’t.

My bio is still blank. My “About Me” page isn’t about me.

Though it’s been a while since I had my writer’s identity crisis, I’m going through a second crisis.

Who am I?

I don’t know.

So I asked my friends and family. It was kind of pathetic. Both that I had to ask them and, also, what they answered.

“A mum.”

“A writer.”

Argh!

I need to get something online already. My own blog is mocking me. WordPress dashboard says:

“Tip: Update your about page so your readers can learn a bit about you.”

*sigh*

I know.

I should have an ‘about’ page on the Reef, change the one I have on Lemon Shark, and completely rewrite my website. Also, I need a bio for Gravatar, Twitter, and Google+.

It should be easy. But it’s not. Not when you know you have a few words to say everything about yourself. Not when you know you will be judged by those words. Not when you don’t even know who you are anymore.

Upon closer examination, I’m still nobody.

 

There’s pressure to have everything just right. People write blog posts and articles with tips on how to make your ‘about’ page, your profile, and your bios just right. It all must be just right.

If you start snooping around ‘about’ pages, you’ll see some with “I like cheese” (instant follow), and others who fill the page with their accomplishments and links to their writing. So we’re getting murky again—with the separating who you are from what you do.

I have an ‘about’ page and a ‘work’ page. Some agree with this, some don’t. Contradictions in the world wide web of writing. I feel like I’ve said that before… Anyhoo.

I guess, when it comes down to it, these are important. They’re the first things a lot of editors and agents look at. They want a quick glimpse at who you are. So there is a certain amount of pressure involved in presenting yourself to the world. You wouldn’t walk into an office for a job without showering, brushing your teeth, and putting on deodorant. (At least I hope you wouldn’t.)

Whether you want to snag an agent, get published, gain followers, or just blog and eat some cheese, your ‘about’ page must be about you. It must be you. Most importantly, whatever it is you choose to write, it must be in your voice. Because that’s what we’re expecting when we click off that page and read your blog.

Bottom line, as I see it, is this: Be Yourself.

 

Do you struggle with bios, profiles, and ‘about’ pages? Do you talk about who you are and what you like? Or do you use this space to promote what you’ve written?

 

The Scrooge of New Year’s Eve

 

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.

 

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For January 1st, I’ve never quit smoking, gone on a diet, bought a gym membership, or sworn to save money.

 

I live in my head; I think about stuff all the time. Why do I need a day to tell me to think about more stuff? And all at once?

I try to learn new things, better myself, and change what’s not working. When this holiday rolls around, I don’t sit and reflect—I barely give a thought to the past year except to say, “Huh. That sucked. Hope next year is better.”

And it isn’t.

It delivers a whole host of new and different problems. So that’s exciting.

But that’s life, isn’t it?

The thing is, like I said last year, I feel pressured to look back over my year and write something meaningful but I simply don’t want to.

What I’d like to do is drink some wine (or Baileys or beer—I’m not picky), watch It’s a Wonderful Life (I know, the irony is delicious), and eat sushi.

So here’s to sitting in front of a movie, drinking, eating, and writing ‘2015’ on all my documents for a few months.

 

Happy New Year, gentle readers. 🎉

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you stick to them? (Let’s be honest…are they even realistic?)

 

 

I’m Nobody! Who Are You?

 

I’m having a writer’s identity crisis.

 

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I can’t decide what to write.

Social media introduces me to the world as…

 

Who am I?

Articles, books, and blogs stress how important it is to have a niche. A platform. A brand. How crucial it is keep your “About Me” page updated and create a kick-ass profile. What I write defines who I am.

Cue the freak-out.

I don’t have a niche.

My “About Me” page doesn’t reflect who I am anymore.

My profile? That’s not me.

What type of writing should I focus on? Nonfiction? Fiction? What genre? What am I doing? What’s my blog about? Who am I?

I could just change my profile but I don’t want something hastily written in the midst of a crisis. It’s seen by far too many people who judge you by those 10-20 words. (They do.) And I don’t want to tweak it every week on a whim.

So.

I’ve deleted my profile. I know. You can’t do that. It’s so bloody important to have one. But I don’t. Not right now.

I am officially nobody.

I thought that would send me into a panic but, honestly, it feels…

Good.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Have you ever had a WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis)? What did you do? How did you find your way? Or did you?

 

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Emily Dickinson

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

Ah, my beloved Emily. She’s always there when I need her.
(Poets.org)

 

Monochromatic Memories

 

I love black and white photos.

Whenever I found a picture I liked, I’d immediately change it to black and white. Sometimes I’d switch to sepia. They’re gorgeous and kind of artsy.

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Lately, though, I’ve been looking at life (and photos) in a new way.

Last week I wrote about hiding by being covered up, but is removing something a way of hiding, too? Is getting rid of colors just the flip side of covering them?

I still love sepia and black and white but I’m going to give myself a moment to appreciate what the colors have to say before I make the decision whether or not to strip them away.

Now that my children are older, I flip through albums filled with colorless photos of newborns. They’re beautiful but I want to see my babies as they really were—spit up, cradle cap, rosy cheeks…everything.

Sarah B. Color - sig

I found this picture from last autumn. My husband snapped it as I was about to pull wisps of wind-blown hair out of my face. Upon closer examination, I thought it looked cool. So I turned it black and white. Taking away my skin tone and purple streak. Taking away my true colors.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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Which image do you like better–the black and white or the color? Which photos do you generally prefer? I still love the B&W and sepia filters. There’s something about them. But I’m being more careful about keeping color in my life and in my photos.

 

Mirror, Mirror

 

How do people see me?

I don’t think about it much. ThoughtBubble

It’s not because I don’t care but because I’m too busy asking my magic mirror (who isn’t very nice) what it thinks of me.

It always finds faults.

The way I look, act, parent, write…

When I put my face, my body, my writing, or my parenting skills in front of that mirror, they are ugly.

Add all my health problems and that’s that.

Sometimes I can fix the imperfections, other times I want to smash the mirror. There are days I can’t even look because I know what I will see.

In this way, I do wonder how others view me. I wonder if it’s the same way I view myself. I’m thinking it’s not.

I can be cruel.

I catch myself thinking something negative about myself and realize that I would never say that to someone else.

Chances are I wouldn’t even notice the perceived flaw.

Is this my internalization of society’s image of what I should be or an issue with my self-esteem? Is there a difference?

I’ve noticed I’m not alone in this. Why do otherwise ordinary, considerate, kind people do this to themselves?

 

Mirror Mirror

Warning: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by society’s image of what you should be seeing.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

It’s My Blog and I Can Fail If I Want To

 

So. You want to be the next big thing in the blogging world. Cool. If that’s what floats your boat, I’ll wave to you from the dock.

I don’t want to be a “top” blogger. *gasp* What?! Who doesn’t want that? Me. I don’t. I’m good and sick of all the articles talking about being “successful”. In what way? How are they measuring my success when they have no idea what my goals are?

Also, what’s with the “everyone”? Everyone wants thousands or tens of thousands of followers and everyone wants their posts to go viral. If we’re talking viral here, I’d much rather get the flu.

One of the first things I learned (then taught) about writing is never use absolutes. See what I did there? That was fun.

Using “everyone” and “always” and “nobody” (as in “nobody wants to see pictures of your cat” when there must be someone who does) is totally uncool in professional writing. So is using words like “uncool”. And “awesome”. And peppering your posts with adverbs and fragments. Seriously. Whatever.

Maybe there are lots of people who want to be pro bloggers. But what I think is that lots of people want to blog. Just…blog. They might like more followers or comments but does every person who blogs want it to become their full-time job? Probably not. I’ll go as far as to say that the people who dream of making their living from blogging constitute a much smaller percentage than these articles lead you to believe. Which can make you doubt yourself and your cute, little blog (or your big, bold blog).

Don’t do that. If you want to blog, blog. There is nothing wrong with blogging for fun. Or chatting about books. Or posting pictures of your cat.

I’ve read lots of articles on blogging. Some of them are quite interesting and informative. If you need advice or tips, there are plenty of wonderful, knowledgeable people out there willing to help. They have experience and know what they’re talking about. We love them.

But if you’re searching the net out of some insecurity, spending way too much time in the sticky world wide webbiness of “you’re doing it all wrong”, close the tabs and blog. Blog whatever the hell you want.

 

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To Thine Own Self Be True

 

“The most important thing is to always be true to what we like.”

Author J.D. Estrada said this to me. We were chatting on Twitter about book genres and reading whatever you want regardless of what others say. This statement stuck with me for two reasons.ThoughtBubble

  1. It can be applied to many situations.
  1. Most of the time you see a quote beginning with “We should always be true to…”, you expect it to end with “who we are”. But he said “what we like”. I find that interesting.

Being true to yourself is crucial and something we tell our children to do. But how often do we ask them what they like and if they stay true to that? I understand this could be considered part of being true to who you are but the words are not the same. They’re more specific and have an entirely different focus.

“Be true to who you are” is a bit abstract for children. Asking them what they like gets you an answer. Asking them if they care what other people think of those things gets you an answer. This leads to a conversation—a way to engage them in a discussion of being true to who they are using concrete examples of what they like.

 

Be True to What You Like

Both my boys (8 and 10 years old) still love their picture books.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Old Lesson for a New Year

 

I feel like I should write some awe-inspiring, thought-provoking, poetic post that recaps my past year or invites my new year.

I’m going to go ahead and not do that.

I don’t need that kind of pressure. And, honestly, I just don’t want to. But here’s something I would like to share.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year. I’ve had wonderful days. I’ve had horrible days. *yawn* Who hasn’t? I’ve also learned a lot from my experiences throughout the year.

Of all the things I’ve learned, however, the greatest was unintentional. That’s my favorite kind.

My 8-yr-old son, who is beautiful and kind, thoughtful and sensitive, smart and funny, is also a bit quirky. He struggles. He has difficulties. Still, he is all of those things I mentioned. He is also strong. Not physically. It’s his inner strength that amazes me. And, somehow, he doesn’t use that strength to shield himself or block out the world.

To others, he may seem weak or unsure or odd or insecure but he is not. He is the strongest person I know.

I will go into the New Year holding a picture in my mind and attempting to keep its message with me. Because, at forty-one years old, I needed to be taught by my 8-yr-old son.

This shirt is the lesson. The fact that my son picked this out himself when he was seven is the lesson. That he wears it with confidence is the lesson. He is my lesson.

 

I am who I am tshirt